Empire Biscuits have been one of our most popular sweets from as long as we've been in business. Seemingly simple in their presentation, Empire Biscuits are also one of our most labor intensive items. Like many of our items, these biscuits are made over the course of days and involve many processes.
Let's talk about the biscuit, also known as cookie - we are in the United States after all. Up until this year, we used margarine as the fat. This has never sat well with us, so this year (even in the face of rising butter costs), we switched to an all-butter biscuit. Empire Biscuits were in need of an improvement, so we started with the biscuit and we couldn't be happier with our new recipe. Our process involves making the dough, rolling it out by hand, running it through the dough sheeter, and hand cutting each biscuit. This is all prior to baking. After baking, we jam each biscuit by hand.
The jam we used prior to this year had high fructose corn syrup in it. While there is nothing inherently wrong with HFCS, we simply do not like the way it tastes. Although it is more expensive, we have started using a "clean label" raspberry jam that contains raspberries and sugar. Once the biscuits have cooled, we jam them, and let them sit overnight to dry. Once dried, we move to the next step.
Our icing is as simple as can be. Powdered sugar and water are the only ingredients. The tricky part is icing each biscuit sandwich by hand. Icing is a meticulous process that could be hours long depending on the number of biscuits being iced. Each biscuit is then topped with a sweet.
Traditionally, the sweet on top of an Empire Biscuit is a glacé cherry. These "cherries" are hardly cherries at all because they go through a series of processes that strip them of their original color and are left to soak in a red colored syrup. Again, there is nothing inherently wrong with these cherries but we do not enjoy them. Aside from not liking their flavor, these cherries are difficult to cut. We found some lovely raspberry gummies that have a better taste than the cherries and they match the flavor the jam we are using.
A lot of what we do happens behind the scenes. These recipe changes take months to make. For the most part, these changes will go unnoticed by most. That's OK! We make changes to be certain we are producing the best possible product for you to eat.